Links 10/29/11

Meet my fantastic family of foxes: Pensioner who shares her home with bushy-tailed ‘Minette’, ‘Chico’ and ‘Billy’ Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S)

Beer & Bullets to Go: Ancient ‘Takeout’ Window Discovered Live Science (hat tip reader Aquifer)

Obesity Fuels Custody Fights Wall Street Journal

Are American workers in a race against the machine? The Lookout (hat tip reader Aquifer)

The women who have to sleep with their husbands’ brothers: Shortage of girls forces families into wife-sharing Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S).

Directors’ pay rose 50% in past year, says IDS report BBC (hat tip reader appointmetotheboard)

Cameron slams fat cat bosses as it is revealed they have awarded themselves a massive 49 per cent pay hike Daily Mail (hat tip reader 1SK)

Outside the Law Foreign Policy (hat tip reader May S). On the Nato operation in Libya.

Greece Will Eventually Leave Euro, Rogoff Says Bloomberg (hat tip reader Jim Haygood)

National Day Parades Turn into Protests with Eggs, Yogurts and Black Flags (pcts, videos) Keep Talking Greece (hat tip reader Jay)

Furious Greeks lampoon German ‘overlords’ as Nazis with picture of Merkel dressed as an SS guard Daily Mail (hat tip reader 1SK)

Euro Bailout Failure 5 ducats (hat tip reader john newman). Be sure to read his final comment.

Italy gives EU a post-party hangover Financial Times

How historians will look back on Euroland’s demise Norman Davies, Financial Times

Qantas Grounds All Flights World-Wide Wall Street Journal

Perry’s Flat Tax Proposal Linda Beale (hat tip reader Aquifer). I wish she’d put more eye-catching titles on these devastating posts.

Occupy Oakland Protesters Remain in Legal Limbo After Release From Jail Truthout (hat tip reader Deontos)

Obama Has Even Lost The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Crowd Business Insider. Um, he never had them. If you’ve been paying attention, this is no surprise.

Audit Notes: The Occupy-Rwanda Connection, Reckless Blame, Jarvis For Dummies Columbia Journalism Review. The OWS part is brazen.

Occupy the No-Spin Zone Slate (hat tip reader Jeremy B)

US consumer spending rise outpaces income Financial Times. I usually don’t comment on GDP releases since so many other sites do, but quite a few astute commentators questioned whether this “not big enough to make a real dent in unemployment” growth rate could be sustained.

Savings Rate Is Dropping, and Experts Are Puzzled New York Times

Confidence Rises in Sign U.S. Will Keep Recovery Intact Bloomberg. This seems to reflect the degree to which the powers that be have indoctrinated the public to believe the stock market is a barometer of the state of the economy.

Goldman sued for $1.07 billion over Timberwolf CDO Reuters

Bank of America Rethinking Debit Card Fee New York Times

Congresswoman Waters Renews Her Call for Mortgage Servicer Accountability RealEstateRama. Bernanke and Walsh are blowing off her servicer information request.

What the Costumes Reveal Joe Nocera, New York Times. Saw this only now. Holy moley.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. skippy

    Qantas….waaaaaa….toss toys out of crib….fook every one…

    Skippy…biggest dummy spat ever[!] but, CEO worth every penny!

      1. Skippy

        In addition they dragged the domestic pilots into this preplanned (bought up hotel rooms for stranded passengers) charade.

  2. ambrit

    A quick comment on a link embedded in a comment by JasonRines on yesterdays Links post. A reader directed to the IP site reporting Obamas campaign apparatus is suing a promotions company for copyright infringement over the use of the ‘Rising Sun’ logo. The CREEPO (Committee to RE-Elect President Obama) alleges it owns the copyright to the ‘Rising Sun’ image. What a bunch of dopes! A certain other Imperial Power got to that image first! Doesn’t anyone inside the Beltway remember thier history?

  3. Sock Puppet

    Linda Beale needs to hire the Daily Mail’s headline writers, and they need to hire her to write content.

    1. Linda Beale

      I admit I could have used Enriching the rich with the Flat Tax or something similar and it would have gotten more attention. But would it also turn off those who are not yet decided what they think, because it would appear biased? I’ve hoped that I would get readers who are really trying to assess the merits of such proposals by having more ‘neutral’ headlines. Yves and you readers seem to think that’s a mistake, so I will think about catchier and less academic-sounding titles in the future…

  4. Sock Puppet

    GDP, consumer spending, savings rate: consumers spent more and saved less because costs – for example for health insurance – are increasing and their income is not. This is neither a choice nor good news, but it boosts GDP.

    1. Richard Kline

      So Sock, agreed, completely: drop in savings is forced by Legree’s Scissors of declining income and spiking costs. You’ve got it in a single sentence, while a thousand shills for the ‘official propaganda’ pollyanna cum lie to most and conceivable hypothesis elsewise and every inconceivable one as well.

    1. Glenn Condell

      Check out some of the comments to that, where even seeming libruls agree with the decisions to fire, because, you know, it’s not the done thing to engage in political activity if you’re a journalist, indeed an employee of any description.

      Your obligations as a drone outweigh your rights as a citizen it seems, even if these obligations are anti-democratic infringements of your freedom.

      Home of the brave eh, land of the free?

      Is there no such thing as unfair dismissal laws over there? I guess even if they were the tribunal would be gamed, bought or otherwise hobbled.

  5. Externality

    Re: “What the Costumes Reveal”

    The behavior of the Stephen J. Baum law firm, as described in the article, is truly appalling.

    1. David

      Agreed, future historians may well look at this incident
      as analogous to what “let them eat cake” was to late
      18th century France.

  6. dearieme

    Angela Merkel in a Nazi uniform looks rather good. It’s a sad reminder that the Nazis weren’t just evil bastards, they were evil bastards with a flair for vulgar art.

  7. dearieme

    “Banks Raise Capital:
    1.The rule was created so that it scarcely touches German and French banks, funny how that works since they negotiated the deal.
    2.Italian banks have to raise a lot of capital, but do private investors want to put money in banks in a stagnant economy, with a government that probably can’t bail them out?”

    Toss the boy another ducat.

  8. Crazy Horse

    Actually I’m in favor of Cain’s idea of enterprise zones where corporations have no tax liability and there is no minimum wage. Texas is a prime candidate, as it has already made giant steps in that direction.

    There are two additions to the proposal needed to make it fully functional:
    1- All individuals who vote for Cain in the primaries or presidential election should be rounded up and moved there.
    2- The drone-monitored free fire zone border fence so dear to the hearts of immigration reformers should be built on the northern border of Texas rather than the northern border of Mexico.

    1. ambrit

      Mucho, mucho gusto. Tejas, it is the stolen province of Mexico, no? Just like the Taiwan is the stolen province of China, si? All should be fair, and be going back to his original owner. This is essence of Conservatism, no? Also, him who come up with name of Interstate 69 must be given many compliments. Him, or, Dios Nos Salva, her who thinks up this name have big cojones! Ultimate truth in advertising!
      Hasta la luego!

  9. BDBlue

    This column by Krugman is right as far as it goes, but it should go farther. In many ways the reasoning that supported bank bailouts and austerity stems from the same logic that posed that “free trade” would be a great economic boom for everybody when really it was always clear that – at least in the way it was going to be implemented – it was primarily going to be a boom for Wall Street. Abandoning manufacturing and industrial policy for “free trade” pretty much ensured that the financial sector would grow and become even more powerful.

    It’s true that the financial crisis and the elite response to it has been a disaster for this country. But it’s a disaster built on housing bubbles and dot-com bubbles, which were needed to provide economic growth while we shipped the true engine of growth – our industry – overseas for the benefit of multinationals and Wall Street. And beyond dealing with the financial crisis, we must figure out where economic growth is going to come from in the long term.

    1. Jesse

      “But it’s a disaster built on housing bubbles and dot-com bubbles, which were needed to provide economic growth”

      And to disguise the true state of the middle class in this country. Now the curtains been pulled back.

  10. Jeff

    “Bank of America Rethinking Debit Card Fee”?

    American citizens are dumping the fortune 500 from
    their wallets and purses. If you want to be a good
    citizen, if you want to help small business, if you
    want to simplify paperwork, if you want to send a
    message to Wall Street….pay cash or write checks.

    Just like it is morally reprehensible to pay for sex,
    it should be considered morally reprehensible to pay
    for the use of your own money.

  11. barrisj

    Re: Goldman “Timberwolf” lawsuit…it will go the same way as the “Abacus” business – admit no guilt and pay a fine, and – oh – maybe hang out a trader to satisfy any blood-lust, per “Fabulous” Fabrice Tourre. Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, in their excellent historical account of the ’08 financial meltdown, All The Devils Are Here, give a first-rate account of how Goldman stacked synthetic CDOs with pure shite, and played them off against clients, taking Lloyd Blankfein’s aphorism to heart: “We don’t have clients, we have counterparties”. You go, Lloyd!

  12. PQS

    Re: Costumes at law firm specializing in foreclosures.

    Good God.

    Between that and the snobs drinking champagne on the balcony over OWS (and the “We are the 1%” banner at the Chicago Trade), we are truly living with a bunch of entitled jerks who live in an alternate reality.

    It’s social poison and the rest of us who aren’t sociopaths need to say so.

  13. hello

    No good deed goes unpunished or never touch a lost iphone. Seriously.

    That’s what Novato resident Moriah Stafford learned when she found an iPhone in a shopping cart at the Kohl’s store in Terra Linda on Sept. 20.

    Stafford took the phone to her son’s Petaluma home, thinking he could help her try to contact the owner. Next thing she knew, Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies kicked in the door, grabbed the phone and arrested her and her son.

    Turns out the super-slick iPhone 4 with its built-in GPS device allowed the owner, Kathleen Wata, to track it to within three feet.

    Within hours, Wata’s husband led deputies to the Petaluma home on I Street. Deputies knocked. But when no one answered they forced their way in. ……….

    1. aet

      Perhaps she ought to have turned the found phone over to the owner/controller of the place where she found the phone, that is, Kohl’s management or staff.

      On second thought, there’s no “perhaps” about it.

      1. sparks

        Um, sure. I frequently turn in cash I find at the self-serve tills in a supermarket I visit regularly. Usually happens two or so times a month to me. Guess what happens to that money unless the customer who left it notices the missing change and returns, with receipt in hand? The store keeps it. An employee tipped me off. Frankly, I’d trust me over any store (employees or management) to see an item got back to where it belonged.

        P.S. I have never taken a reward for returning items, either.

    2. Sock Puppet

      Hmmm – I lost my droid on the street near my house. A passing driver found it and picked it up to stop it being run over. I called the phone about 15 times until she figured out how to answer it (she’s an iPhone user). She had been trying to figure out who it belonged to (would have been tough, as it was locked). She was heading out of the area for the night but delivered it to my house the following morning. It’s what I would have done too. I don’t want to see human decency criminalized. How about the phone companies provide an “I found this phone” button that calls an alternate number?

    3. Glenn Condell

      My wife and I found an iPhone 4 on the ground in a shopping centre car park. It was a Sunday night after 5pm so no centre offices open, so my wife took it in the next day. They told her to take it to the Apple store, so she did. They told her ‘can’t do anything ma’am, it’s pin-locked, take it to the Telstra store (local telecom giant), so she did. They said ‘nothing we can do ma’am, congrats, you’ve got an iPhone, just get a new SIM and you’re away’ so she did but nothing she did worked, and a techie we knew said that the phone would have an ID which if the owner had reported it missing would be barred from using the network. The whole time we had the phone on and charged so that we could pick up any call that came in, hopefully from the owner – nothing.

      So now my wife still has her old Nokia for phone, and the iPhone for everything else. It just seems mad to me that the owner reported the thing gone at one end and we did all we could at the other to find him, but we passed like ships in the night.

  14. aletheia33

    those employees at baum are merely rehearsing for when their employer puts them in the same boat with those sorry folk they so fear they might have to share a boat with. deep down, at some level, they know it. that’s why they feel they have to play make believe so hard at the office “party.”

    sign spotted in the gawker/npr story photo: “i was a debt collector/ laid off.”

  15. Tony

    Does anyone think that Fox and Murdoch will be hurt by the dispute with DirecTV?

    DirecTV is alleging that Fox is basically using their same old dirty tricks (lying, cheating, etc.) in the negotiations and it looks like they are complaining to the FCC:

    “Because of Fox’s actions, DirectTV is making the assertion that they (Fox) don’t deserve to be a broadcast conglomerate. This is perhaps the most important section of the email as DirectTV is not only complaining about Fox’s regards to the ongoing negotiations but also the fact that by refusing to negotiate and running commercials. they are no longer fit to serve the best interest of the viewing public. It’s a huge allegation and one that the FCC won’t take lightly.”

    I would love to see FOX lose their broadcast license.

  16. kingbadger

    re: “Are American workers in a race against the machine?”

    Book author seems to repeat standard fallacies, such as:

    We also do hear over and over again from executives and business owners that there is this kind of thicket of regulation and red tape that you have to go through if you want to start something up and employ some people

    Again and again this is refuted. Lack of demand is the main reason why businesses aren’t hiring as much as before. Executives want more de-regulation so they can run riot even more in the future. Lehman? BP? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    “They can’t find those workers, because they can’t find people with the right skills”

    Well you’d think they’d want to take the time and effort to train people then? But noooo…..

    1. Aquifer

      With regard to “They can’t find those workers, because they can’t find people with the right skills”, Dean Baker, I thought had a simple, direct rejoinder:

      But as to the gist of the article – it is,indeed,a supporter of the argument that mechanization is as much to blame for lower employment as trade policy. But also, and more importantly, IMO, it makes the point that our unalloyed worship and promotion of “efficiency” and “productivity” as Cardinal Virtues in the religion of markets come at a real, and growing, cost – namely denial for more and more folk of the means, via employment, to participate in the fruits of those “advances”. The point being as machines become “smarter” and “more capable” of performing tasks at a higher and higher level of abstraction – why even make the effort to train/get trained for tasks that people are not needed for?

      So, we complain about unemployment at the same time as we laud the wonders of all those machines that are replacing us. I remember seeing a documentary about Milton Hershey when he was building Hershey, PA (around the turn of the last century?). Reportedly a work foreman came up to him and said (paraphrasing)”Mr. Hershey, look at this wonderful machine (a steam shovel), it can do the work of 50 men!” and Hershey replied “Get rid of the machine, hire the men!” I thought of that as i saw modern day Hershey’s sell out and move out …

      Frankly i think our tax policy should reward those who hire real people at living wages and not those who “upgrade” their businesses with “wonderful” new machines that replace them. We are killing ourselves on the altar of “productivity” and quite “efficiently” burying the remains …

      1. aet

        Re-distribute the concentrated profits which are brought on by the use of automation to everyone, via the tax system and subsidies to the public.

  17. Knative

    Whenever I read comments under stories about Greek people being (rightfully) angry about the situation and protesting, there are tons of people badmouthing them. Like they’re getting some sort of justice or comeuppance by having their country’s economy tank and you know suffering through high unemployment and tons of other bad things. Those people have a biblical type of morality. Blood must be sacrificed to pay for Greek’s sins. Doesn’t matter whose blood. It’s bizarro.

    1. Mr. Eclectic

      “They tell me they didn’t play by the rules. Here, I do! Please, not me. Take them! I’m even cheering!”

    1. Moopheus

      It’s not strictly speaking a new idea. I’ve done it with junk mail. But, yeah, encouraging people to do it to send a direct message is cool. The poor mail handlers in Nebraska will be confused.

  18. briansays

    what the costume reveal
    from wonkette

    The first reaction most decent people will have when seeing these pictures of last year’s Halloween costume party at the foreclosure mill law offices of Steven J. Baum is overwhelming disgust and nausea, followed by an overwhelming desire to storm these offices on Monday and “make an example.” But the employees of Steven J. Baum are, ultimately, wage slaves to the institutionalized cruelty and dehumanization that defines America’s economic system. The people pictured here look like legal assistants and secretaries and paralegals and receptionists and file clerks and low-level litigators, all probably underwater on their own mortgages and all much closer to economic catastrophe than they’d care to admit — this firm is in a suburb of Buffalo, after all. It is crucial that the Steven J. Baums of the world force their own wage slaves into opposition with the rest of the nation’s wage slaves. This is why Oakland’s police officers, many of them military veterans, are so ready to viciously attack other military veterans. It’s why a “Tea Party” of Ron Paul supporters was hijacked by the billionaire Koch Brothers and turned into a manufactured outrage of middle-class whites against middle-class whites (and the minorities and lower classes, as always).

    The firm is a “top U.S. foreclosure practice,” meaning it is a top-down criminal organization — it has already agreed to pay $2 million in fines to the New York attorney general, to avoid further prosecution over its illegal foreclosure methods. Many other states are prosecuting the firm. Any successful criminal organization operates by creating a culture of conspiracy. The members of the crime operation do not simply do jobs; they pledge loyalty to the beliefs and personality of the kingpin, they see his enemies as their enemies, they are taught to feel nothing for those who suffer. This is what you see here: Office workers, American nobodies, people as likely to fall prey to an aggressive foreclosure mill as the actual victims, told to come to work and parade about as caricatures of their own victims.

    It’s no different for the $60K nobodies at Fox News or the Nike employees who used to tattoo the company’s trademarked logo onto their skin, volunteering themselves as eternal chattel to a corporation that could send them all home forever, on Monday. This is “corporate culture,” in its most transparently despicable guise.

  19. Barbyrah

    Yves, a big thanks for that “family of foxes” story… incredible photos, and had to smile when I read one of them likes eating “flapjacks” the best (maybe starting to go veggie)! Uplifting, the woman who took them in is an incredible human being for doing this, and the comments thread was fantastic. (Very, very insightful and supportive…)

    Made my day.

  20. rich

    Occupy San Francisco: the teenager who was refused cancer treatment

    Miran Istina, 18, joined protests after four years of being denied life-saving bone marrow transplant for leukaemia

    She was inspired to take part in the protest by the refusal of her insurance company to pay for treatment for her chronic myelogenous leukaemia.

    She said: “They denied me on the terms of a pre-existing condition. Seeing as I had only had that insurance for a few months, and I was in early stage two which meant I had to have had it for at least a year, they determined it was a pre-existing condition and denied me healthcare.”

    The Occupy movement attracted Istina as she ties the corporate influence on American politics to the decision that has sentenced her to death.

    She said: “The corporate influence on politics influences just about anything that happens, seeing as politicians write the plans that healthcare has to follow. It directly links the fact that insurers only pick and choose those who are actually worth it [financially]. I just happen to not be one of the ones they wanted to be around much longer.

    “The decision was absolutely influenced by some corporation or some bank saying, ‘we can’t afford her. She’s not worth our money.’ In end terms, corporate greed is going to cost me my life.

  21. Ned

    Please name her insurance company so that we can
    take appropriate action against them: i.e. boycott
    them and counter any advertising propaganda they
    might buy with letters to the editor, blogs, posts

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